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Albularyo or albulario is a Filipino term for a witch doctor, folk healer or medicine man, derived from Spanish herbolario (herbalist).[1] They practice folk medicine and use medicinal plants in their trade.[2]


the Role and functions[edit]

An albularyo is a "folk doctor"[3] commonly found in the more rural areas of the Philippines who heals people using herbs and traditional practices such as hilot or massage. Their services are considered either as a first or as a last resort for addressing illnesses.[4] The albularyo's patient claims that the practitioner have supernatural powers that modern medicine does not provide. This belief makes them more trustworthy than modern medicine practitioners.[5] Aside from practicing folk medicine, the albularyo is also alleged to practice black magic and curse people.[6]

The albularyos practice their trade using prayers called orasyon (from Spanish oracion),[7] and rituals. They also use concoctions made from plant parts such as leaves, bark, roots and oils such as coconut oils. Pangalap is the process of searching for these medicinal plants and pabukal is the preparation of decoctions from said plants.[8] Albularyos also use their own saliva and pieces of papers with writings.[9] The albularyo use tawas (alum) crystals to find out who is causing the ailments in their patients."[3] The may also use candle wax poured in water,[10] eggs, or spirits to divine the cause of the ailments.[7] Some ailments are claimed to be the work of lamang lupa who were unknowingly or knowingly harmed by the patient. The albularyo may then use rituals and prayers to drive away the spirit and therefore remove the sickness from the patient.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fabe, Pamela Amparo H. (2001). Migration and Children: The Case of Barangay Suba, Cebu City. Save the Children (UK) Philippines. p. 53. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ Duyan Ng Magiting: The Folk Culture of the Southern Tagalog Region. IMC. 1989. p. 146. ISBN 978-971-10-1241-0. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b Mata, Elvira (2017-10-02). Positively Mental. Anvil Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-971-27-2937-9. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  4. ^ Dizon, Jesus A. N.; Miralao, Virginia A.; Culture, Ateneo de Manila University Institute of Philippine (1973). The Hilot in Oriental Mindoro: Final Report Submitted to the Institute of Maternal and Child Health by the Institute of Philippine Culture, 2 April 1973. Ateneo de Manila, Institute of Philippine Culture. p. 69. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  5. ^ Mercado, Leonardo N. (1977). Filipino Religious Psychology. Divine Word University Publications. p. 38. ISBN 978-971-10-6005-3. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  6. ^ Brock, Charles (June 1997). Questions People and Churches Ask. Church Growth International. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-885504-43-2. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Dave (2017-08-23). Theology in Context: A Case Study in the Philippines. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-7252-8617-7. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  8. ^ Sánchez-García, Jose C.; Hernandez-Sanchez, Brizeida (2021-02-03). Sustainable Organizations: Models, Applications, and New Perspectives. BoD – Books on Demand. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-83880-962-1. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  9. ^ Papers in Mindanao Ethnography: no. 1] Concept of illness among major Philippine tribes. University Research Center, Mindanao State University. 1979. p. 11. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  10. ^ Enriquez, Virgilio G. (1989). Ang kababalaghan at ang parasikolohiya (in Tagalog). Akademya ng Sikolohiyang Pilipino. p. 47. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  11. ^ Mendez, Paz Policarpio (1991). Culture and Nationhood: A Philosophy of Education for Filipinos. Centro Escolar University, Research and Development Center. Retrieved 10 June 2021.